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The NBA on USA is the de facto name is for the USA Network's National Basketball Association television coverage. The program ran from the 1979-80 season through the 1983-84 season[1].


Coverage overview



When the USA Network signed a three year (running through the 1981-82 season), $1.5 million deal[2], it marked the first time that the NBA had a cable television partner. USA would extend their deal with a two year contract (along with another cable partner in the form of ESPN) worth a total of $11 million.


In 1981, Gulf+Western, then-owners of the New York Knicks, purchased a share in USA.


USA typically aired approximately 35-40 regular season doubleheaders on Thursday nights. Besides regular season and playoff[3] action, USA also broadcast the NBA Draft[4]. USA (as well as ESPN) was ultimately succeeded by TBS, who paid $20 million for two years beginning in the 1984-85 season.


During the 1981-82 season, Al Albert and Hubie Brown called the early game while Eddie Doucette[13] and Steve "Snapper" Jones called the late game. Hubie Brown was subsequently replaced by Jon McGlocklin as Al Albert's partner.

See also


  1. ^ 1983-84 NBA TV schedule
  3. ^ 1984 NBA playoff schedule
  4. ^ Let's go to the tape
  5. ^ For 18 years, Albert was the voice of the Denver Nuggets, dating back to the days of the American Basketball Association. Albert also called the �NBA Game of the Week� for USA Network. The prime play-by-play announcer for USA Network, besides his NBA duties, Albert was the blow-by-blow boxing announcer for the popular �Tuesday Night Fights�, as well as hockey play-by-play man for the NHL �Game of the Week�. In addition, he called Major League Baseball along with Big East and SEC basketball on USA.
  6. ^ Hubie Brown: Believe it or not, I never tried to imitate or be influenced by anyone. Television came around for me in the 1981-82 season. USA Network gave me an opportunity. Jim Zrake was in charge of sports. They did the Thursday night doubleheaders. I had never done television. I was teamed up with Al Albert on the 7 o�clock game and Eddie Doucette and Steve Jones did the second game that year � usually a West Coast game. A lot of people don�t remember that because if they are just young to the NBA they think it was (always) Turner but back then USA did the Thursday night games. I just did it with my own style right from the beginning. I tried to do the telecast as a clinic teaching type situation, using a lot of statistics that I thought that coaches found to be very important during the course of the games and that they used to evaluate their teams after playing a game.
  7. ^ As the big guy strides to the stage, Albert narrates, "Sam Bowie, the young man who came back from a stress fracture injury of the shin bone. He was out two seasons, redshirted, and he's come back strong." Lou Carnesecca, Albert's sidekick, adds, "Jack Ramsay likes to use the center as a passer, a blocker, a post man. I think he'll work very well." Lou neglects to say, "Sam also works well in street clothes and a leg cast." Here's where it gets good. Right after the cameras show everyone at the Bulls table grinning, Albert says of MJ looming at No. 3: "Mmm, everyone's excited about that one." Carnesecca says, "He captures the imagination."
  8. ^ Another thing that happened just right: the call on the shot that gave Kareem 31,420 and 31,421 was made by Eddie Doucette, who was doing the game's play-by-play on cable's USA Network. Doucette had coined the term "sky hook," in Jabbar's early days in Milwaukee.
  9. ^ Jones� broadcasting career began in 1976 (the season after he retired as a player with the Trail Blazers), when he became a color commentator for CBS. He was part of the network�s crew that handled the Blazers championship game against Philadelphia. He also served as color analyst for the Blazers that year. Jones' other broadcasting credits include stints with TNT, TBS, USA Network and the Denver Nuggets.
  10. ^ Karvellas provided NBA basketball play-by-play for CBS radio from 1978 to 1986, and was host of the USA Network's NBA Game of the Week from 1979 to 1981.
  11. ^ In the Milwaukee-Boston playoff game, Eddie Doucette and again John McGlocklin broke the game themes down by quarter. In the first quarter, as the Celtics got off to a good start, the announcers noted Boston's strong guard play, tighter defense than in Game One, and the changed substitution pattern that resulted from the absence of Larry Bird. Second quarter themes included Celtic guard Danny Ainge's hot shooting, the fact the Boston and Milwaukee had reversed roles from Game One, and a focus on Milwaukee's struggles offensively. In the third quarter, McGlocklin and Doucette focused on Milwaukee's comeback in cutting a 17-point halftime deficit to 6. In the fourth quarter, the announcera claimed that it was Milwaukee's aggressiveness in the areas of rebounding and defense that led to their come-from-behind victory.
  12. ^ Powers didn�t exactly welcome his forced idleness, but at least initially, it appeared to be a blessing. He was, and is after all, loquacious, articulate and charming, with a natural curiosity about people and things. He also had name recognition, rare for officials of 1970�s standards. So the logical second career he pursued, after a year of golfing and drinking, was broadcasting. He cut his teeth at some smaller stations, such as USA Network and Madison Square Garden Network, the former being an opportunity aided by some golfing connections.
  13. ^ USA owes its viewers a more impartial national team than Eddie Doucette and Jon Mc Glocklin, the Milwaukee Bucks' announcers during the regular season. Doucette came across as a shameless homer one night in the Celtics series. Al Albert, USA's East Coast play-by-play man, often sounds like Rich Little trying to do Al Michaels.

External links


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